Tagged: vegan

Lentil Sloppy Joes

I made this and it was awesome! Sadly, my house was bunless and it was too hot to turn on the oven to make some, so whole wheat bread had to do.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

I followed a great recipe from Vegan Dad, the only things I changed was using a canned organic tomato sauce in a little agave and more apple cider vinegar instead of ketchup and using a red pepper instead of green. I remember like the sauce in Sloppy Joes as a kid, but hating how greasy it was, all the animal fat and protein was not yummy to me. Like many vegetarians, cows were the first animal I stopped eating. I have used Boca crumbles to make Sloppy Joes, but it wasn’t nearly as good as the two whole foods versions I have made. I have recently created my own version using 2 cups pinto beans, 2 cups shredded carrots, and 1 cup oatmeal and it is now our favorite in texture! I think next time I will use Lentils again instead of pinto beans, since the beans were so obvious, I think the taste and size of lentils allow them to hide more in this dish!

Am I the only one who loves the look of veggies in a cast iron skillet?

Lentil Sloppy Joes 3

Just gaze upon that bubbling yumminess! Nothing compares to creating a delicious and nutritious meal for the family! Go by Vegan Dad’s website and make this, also check out his other recipes there are tons of delicious looking foods there!

Lentil Sloppy Joes 2

 

Five Things Fri—Saturday

Ok, so this time my Five Things Friday post really is being posted on Saturday. My clock just hit 12:08 AM…This is what happens when I get so excited house hunting I forget to start my post writing! That’s right we are looking to buy a house. Something quaint and cottage with land and trees surrounding it, not street lights and neighbors separated by only a driveway.

Today the Five Things are Five things I have made this week.

1. Donuts.

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Yes! Finally! I found some donut (or doughnut) pans at HomeGoods and scooped them up at a fantastically low price of $3 each. I bought one regular donut pan and one twist long john pan…I have dreams of getting one more of both! For my first Vegan Baked Donut trial I used Chocolate Covered Katie’s “healthy” Kirspy Kreme Baked Doughnut recipe…I will be posting a more detailed post about these beauties soon!

2. Snack Time.

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I’m all about simple and quick snacks, and when they are healthful and yummy all the better! This came about when I was craving Ants on a Stick (Log? however you want to say it). You remember that snack from our childhood…or at least mine! Typically it involves smothering the channel of a celery stalk with peanut butter then topping with a neat row of raisins. This day, my celery was a little on the small side, very narrow…so I mixed raisins into my peanut butter and used it like a dip! I loved how easy (and less messy) this was and still tasted delicious. I have a feeling I will be making a tray with raisin and peanut butter dip at my next party! Uh, I wonder if I could add raisins to my peanuts the next time I make peanut butter!?!?! New idea…to me anyway! Yes, that is my copy of Whole Grain Vegan Baking sitting next to my snack. I was paging through it while chomping on celery, I can’t wait to start making the amazing foods in this book!

3. My Mom’s Yumzetti.

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This is my childhood. My mom hates cooking, so she loved all in one pot meals. Yumzetti in our house meant egg noodles, one can of tomato soup and one can of cream of mushroom soup and a punch of peas and a pound of hamburger cooked in the microwave then added to the finished dish. I loved this dish growing up. A few years ago I made it vegetarian by using Morning Star crumbles, this time I veganized and healthified (yes this is a word in my house) it! Instead of canned soups I made my own using cashews and portobella mushrooms and a can of tomato sauce and tomato paste and instead of “fake” meat I used steamed crumbled tempeh with a little soy sauce. It was yummy and totally filled the craving I had for my mom’s cooking. This recipe may make it onto the blog…but I didn’t really write things down so who knows!

4. Jewelry.

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I’m finally back at my bead table creating shiny, sparkly, pretty pieces of jewelry. I’m loving it! I made these earrings for myself, then loved them so much a made one more pair to sell…Coming to my etsy shop soon!

5. Mendal’s Knobs.

Drawer/Door Knobs that is. She is awesome, I know I have said that before. But really she is so creative and original! This woman has created some truly cool retro looking Star shaped knobs using ice/candy molds and epoxy and star sprinkles (yes edible sprinkles) I will hopefully remember to come back and post a picture…I can’t believe I didn’t snap one this evening when she unveiled them! She made these for her mom’s kitchen, which is yellow, green, blue and red…and her mom’s favorite shape is a Star. She is such a sweet daughter right?

So that is this weeks 5 things! There were other things made In The CatHouse this week…and maybe some will show up as a post before next weeks 5 things. I really need to start a few more themed posts to increase my blogging…maybe a Wednesday post? We shall see!

Vegetarian to Plant Based, Plant Based to Vegan

The following is a long explanation on where I’ve been lately. The short answer is that I’ve been reading, watching, and soul searching.

Back to the title of this post. The differences might not seem that big to most people, but they are huge to people who go through the changes.

By definition Vegetarians do not eat meat, but there are different types of vegetarians, Mendal and I were Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians. This meant we ate Dairy and Eggs. If you are interested in learning about other types of vegetarians go here.

Then we decided to try going plant based for health reasons. We were eating way too much cheese and simple carbs, we were typical lazy vegetarians eating the American Diet of french fries and cheese covered foods. Going plant based was the best thing we ever did. While I was able to cut dairy out right away, I did eat a few eggs until we ran out of them. Mendal is doing incredibly well, she now only eats cheese and sour cream when we eat out at Mexican or Italian Restaurants, she has hopes of being dairy free eventually, but we all have our own speed of changes. Our home is vegan, with the exception of our kittens’ food there are no animal products or secretions in our home.

I, like many people, became vegetarian because there is no difference to me between my muscles and animal meat. This similarity helped me see that we are all animals, the only true difference to me is that I am a human animal and my cats or the cows and chickens and fishes I ate years ago and most still eat are nonhuman animals. I thought by being vegetarian I was doing my part in ending the suffering. Even after going plant based I still didn’t understand how eating cheese and eggs actually leads to the abuse and eventual death of the cows and chickens who make these foods. I experienced this awakening when I started listening to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Podcast Vegetarian Food for Thought because I wanted to learn more about eating plant based. Turns out Colleen’s Podcast tells you more than how to ensure a balanced diet, she also shares the horrifying truths of the dairy and egg industries.

picture from advocacy.britannica.com

For example, I knew the dairy cows had to be pregnant to produce milk, so I knew there were calves born to each one every year. But I had never given thought to what actually happens to those innocent babies! The answer is that the girl calves are doomed to ensure the same fate as their mothers, and the boy calves are housed in small crates for a few months then killed for veal. Veal! So, yes, by buying milk products we are supporting the veal industry. How disturbing is that? If you want to read about this click the calf picture on the right.

picture from advocacy.britannica.com

Colleen also talks about the horrors the chickens who produce eggs live through, even those so called “free range” chickens. For example did you know that in some cases free range simply means the building the chickens are packed into by the thousands has a single window? In other cases it means the cage is a few inches bigger or less crowded. In very few cases, and never at the large production levels, are the chickens literally roaming outdoors in green pastures. While the egg laying chickens’ lives are sad and cruel, the lives of the male or boy chicks are a terrifying nightmare. When chicks are hatched in egg laying chicken hatcheries the baby boys are killed soon after hatching.  The newly born chicks are sorted, the boys are worthless and are literally either thrown into trash bags alive where they suffocate or thrown live into giant meat grinders alive. They are a waste product of the egg industry. Millions of boy chicks are killed every year so you can have your omelet. How is that okay? I know that this knowledge does not sit well with me and has ensured I will never knowingly eat another egg. If you would like to read more on about egg laying hens click the picture of “free range chickens” on the right.

When I became Plant Based, I said I would eat small amounts of dairy when I had no choice. I thought I would be okay eating a cheese pizza every once in a blue moon. I even told one of my sisters I would be eating a piece of her wedding cake with all it’s egg and butter glory. Now after spending the last few weeks listening to Colleen’s Podcast and watching such films as Earthlings and reading tons of websites about what it means to be vegan, I can say with confidence I will never eat a cheese pizza or or traditional cakes. I am no longer simply Plant Based, I am Vegan.

To me the difference between Plant Based and Vegan is intention. Plant Based people want to eat healthier and might also be concerned with their carbon foot print. Both of which are fantastic and commendable reasons to stop supporting the meat and dairy industries. Vegans typically come from a place of compassion, they stop consuming animals and their secretions (to use a term Colleen loves) because they do not wish to harm other living beings. This includes not using leather, silk, wool, or feathers in fashion or home decor or car interiors. From what I have heard and read, Vegans typically put the animals well-being before their healthful diets. Which is why there can be unhealthy vegans, just like when I was vegetarian.

I can be vegan and still eat Oreos! But I can’t eat them if I am plant based, because there is nothing whole foods nor plant based about that processed, refined, overly sweet cookie. Luckily for me I have never like Oreos, so I’m not tempted, but there are still tons of accidentally vegan and purposely vegan products that are bad for you. So I will be doing as Colleen teaches and eating whole foods, plant based because it is healthy and because of my vegan compassion. Though now when I “slip” from plant based foods, I will be having vegan cheese on my pizza and coconut milk ice cream. I no longer allow myself the idea of having cheese again “someday” nor will I be eating my sister’s wedding cake.

This journey has taken me almost exactly 5 years. I became vegetarian in June of 2008, I became plant based in March of 2013, and I became vegan in May 2013. It has been an amazing ride, and I cannot wait to see what this newest destination will bring to my life!

I hope now that the initial drive for vegan and animal rights information has past, I will find time to once again write up some posts. I have my list posted a while ago and I have a bunch of photos of yummy foods I just need to write and edit and post!

Vegan French Toast?

Vegan French Toast 3

Yes please! I Love me some french toast. I am serious about it though, it can’t be too eggy or too soggy or two squishy. Last year I found the perfect recipe, it was for baked french toast. The traditional stuff, you know with butter, eggs, milk and white bread. I made it for Christmas breakfast and it was a huge hit!

Fast forward 8 months or so and you find us going Vegan. So, now I’m on the hunt for a vegan french toast recipe. One that doesn’t use any of those ingredients, but still satisfies my love of good french toast. It seems impossible, but the first recipe I found was fantastic, I loved how it tasted and how easy it was to make, but it wasn’t exactly how I like my french toast. But then it was made with homemade whole wheat bread so it was destined to be dense!

I used a recipe by Of Course, Vegan. It uses bananas instead of eggs and was very easy to make. Everything cooked up well and tasted great! So you should go to Of Course, Vegan. and make this now, for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner, or even a Snack! I plan to make some white whole wheat bread next time I make this recipe, hopefully it will get the texture closer to the yum factor of that baked french toast from Christmas.

You might have noticed that my french toast is circular! That is because the bread I used is in muffin form. I have been making a fantastic, easy no knead whole wheat sandwich bread. One day I thought, if I made the recipe in my large muffin tins I might be able to use the recipe as a bun for some portabella mushroom caps. The bread baked well, but they were too tall and dense to be buns. I used them anyway, but I ended up with a few left over, so I cut them into rounds dunked them into the banana batter and fried them up!

Vegan French Toast

They fried up really well, though I did have the heat too high so I burned a few. But that works for me because I like things a little charred (waffles and pancakes included).

Vegan French Toast 2

I shared them with Mendal and she liked them too, she’s not really into sweet sticky breakfasts. Or at least that’s what she has told me for the last 5+ years, but every time I make waffles, pancakes and french toast she eats them! Now I really want to go make this again, and I just happen to have 2 bananas in need of a good recipe. 😉

Vegan Mac N Cheese Take 1!

For the first time since giving up dairy I wanted Macoroni and Cheese…so I hit Pinterest and landed on a recipe by Chef Chloe. Her Mac ‘N’ Cheese recipe had great comments and looked yummy. I followed the recipe, with the exception of substituting oil for the Earth Balance. This is the awesomeness her recipe created:

ImageIt was very good, especially since it satisfied my cheese craving. However, I thought it had a bit too much garlic taste. I don’t associate Mac N Cheese with garlic, but if I did this recipe is spot on! So if you are having a cheese craving attack go to Chef Chloe’s site and make this dish, you won’t be disappointed!

I have a few more recipes pinned and one idea bouncing around in my head, so the next time the cheese craving hits it will be Vegan Mac N Cheese Take 2!

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes 2 ways

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Yum. So, truth time. I have been making these vegan chocolate cupcakes for years. Long before I gave up the dairy and eggs. These lovely, unbelievably, chocolaty, fluffy gems have been at many a birthday party in both cupcake and tiered cake forms. And? No one ever guesses the cake is vegan. Never! If I tell people they think I’m lying. Me? I never lie about cake.

I have Joy the Baker to thank for these cupcakes. She posted about them over 3 years ago. The recipe comes from an awesome cookbook by Sarah Magid called Organic and Chic. I want this cookbook, so badly, it’s on my wishlist. Without Joy the Baker taking the time to blog about the recipe I would not have found it all those years ago. So, instead of putting the recipe here I want you to go to Joy the Baker’s post. Joy’s site is awesome and you should look around and get as addicted to her writing and baking as I am! But wait!!

Please come back and try one of my two vegan chocolate topping ideas. I made a quick Vegan Chocolate Not-Ganache and a fluffy Vegan Chocolate Frosting. For the recipes follow the links.

Behold Dark Rich Chocolate Cupcakes that happen to be Vegan and are also not too sweet (which is a plus in my opinion).

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You may notice that there is something strange going on with the cupcakes. They are two different sizes. The first picture shows a standard cupcake or muffin tin’s creation. The second picture shows Ikea’s DRÖMMAR muffin tin’s creation. I am totally in love with the taller, skinnier cupcake that the DRÖMMAR makes.

I topped the standard cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Not-Ganache.

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I slathered the Ikea DRÖMMAR muffin pan cupcakes with the fluffy vegan chocolate frosting.

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This next picture shows how I eat the taller cupcakes Ikea’s DRÖMMAR Muffin Pan creates. I love this pan, but be aware not all cake recipes will “like” the skinnier profile. The first time I used the pan the cupcakes ended up smaller than 1 inch in diameter and cooked too fast. This pan is awesome, and makes the cutest little cupcakes, but it has a learning curve!

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Creamy Cashew Alfredo with Mushrooms and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I made two versions of this dish. One with Baby Portabella and Shitake Mushrooms and one with Sun-dried Tomatoes. The mushroom version was for my girlfriend and the sun-dried tomato dish was for me! I love the salty sweetness of sun-dried tomatoes, and while I do adore a good mushroom, my girl is obsessed with them! So I gave her extra earthy meaty goodness and went with the salty chewy goodness for myself.

Cashew Alfredo Mushroom

Cashew Alfredo Sundried Tomato

Cashew Alfredo
Adapted from Stephanie Fitch of Sweet Beau
Feeds 4

2 cups Alfredo Cream (see recipe here)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I used jarred kind)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (I used bottled!)
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Additions
1 cup Mushrooms: half Shitake, half Baby Portabellas or Cremini Mushrooms
1/4 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes

Pasta
I used an Organic 100% Whole Wheat Spaghetti because I had it on hand, any pasta will do!

Mix all ingredients together in medium sauce pan on medium heat. I used a whisk to stir it occasionally. Once it starts to bubble turn the heat down to medium low and cook for about 10 minutes. For a more traditional Alfredo add a bit of freshly grated nutmeg!

For the mushrooms I sliced them length wise and cooked them without oil in a medium cast iron pan on medium heat for about 4 minutes per side.

For the Sun-dried tomatoes I used Trader Joe’s brand which are already julienne cut. I gave them a rough chop to make them smaller pieces and added them to the same pan I cooked the mushrooms in. Ideally I would have added them directly to the Cashew Alfredo as it cooked, but the other human in our cat house doesn’t care for sun-dried tomato goodness.

This Alfredo would also be fantastic with both sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms mixed!

The best thing about this dish, aside from the taste, is that there is no added fat, it only contains the natural fat found in the cashews, you can see that info here. It is the first time in my life that eating Alfredo didn’t leave me feeling greasy!

Just gaze at this beautiful creamy sauce…

Cashew Alfredo Fork 2

Cashew Alfredo Fork